Sunday, 19 August 2018

Boneless Lamb Biryani.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Yesterday on Instagram, I asked you guys whether you would like me to post a lamb biryani or lamb curry before Eid.
The biryani won and so here it is.
It's a boneless lamb biryani that we cooked yesterday for lunch. I'll tell you about it in a minute but first, is your Eid Al-Adha menu sorted? If not, I have 50 recipes for you here starting from breakfast and finishing with a post-Eid detox. 
We finished our menu this morning and so now, the prep begins. Our Eid is on Wednesday and before then, I have spring rolls, masala roast lamb, cupcakes, and lemon posset to prepare. Plus I have cousins coming over on Tuesday for a pre-Eid get together. I'm still not decided on the savoury but for dessert I might make chocolate mousse for them.
After all the menu talk, let me tell you about this biryani. It starts with the lamb marinade which is stored overnight in the fridge. This gives the lamb even more flavour but also helps it soften up and cook faster the next day. Usually with curries and rice, lamb on the bone is preferred for its extra flavour but sometimes it's nice to have a change and use boneless.
The other great thing about this biryani is that there are no whole spices just waiting to get stuck in your mouth. Of course, there are whole spices in the rice to flavour but I put them into a spice infuser which means once the spices have done their job, we can just pull them out. Once the lamb has marinaded and the rice is par-boiled, we're ready to make the quick biryani base before assembling the whole dish and letting it steam. There is so much flavour and spice in this biryani, it doesn't even need a chutney on the side. Unless you are a chutney fan of course, in which case I have lots of recipes for you here..

A Simple List of Ingredients:
1. Boneless Lamb Leg Pieces
2. Vegetable Oil
3. Ground Cumin
4. Ground Coriander
5. Ground Turmeric
6. Red Chilli Powder
7. Garam Masala
8. Ginger Paste
9. Garlic Paste
10. Plain Yoghurt
11. Lemon Juice
12. Basmati Rice
13. Whole Spices
14. Onions
15. Fresh Mint
16. Fresh Coriander
17. Green Chillies
18. Kewra Water
19. Food Colour Powder

Bismillah, let's begin!

We start by marinading the boneless lamb which we will leave overnight in the fridge. In a bowl, place 500g (1 pound) Boneless Lamb Leg, cut into bitesize pieces. You can use up to 700g (1 and 1/2 pounds) of lamb pieces.

Drizzle in 3 tablespoons Vegetable Oil.

Time for the ground spices! Let's add in:
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
2 teaspoons Ground Coriander
1/2 teaspoon Ground Turmeric
1 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
1 teaspoon Garam Masala

Along with 1 teaspoon Ginger Paste and 1 teaspoon Garlic Paste.

Add in 235g Plain Yoghurt.

And, finish with the Juice of 1 Lemon.

Mix everything up and put the lamb in the fridge to marinade overnight. This will obviously give it more flavour but will also help soften the meat so that it will cook faster the next day.

The next day when you're ready to cook the biryani, the first job is to par-boil the rice. But before that, we must wash the rice well under cold running water until the water coming out is mostly clear. Then, soak the rice for 30 minutes. The rice is 450g Basmati Rice.

While the rice is soaking, slowly bring a deep pan of water to the boil.

Add 3 teaspoons Salt. Sounds like a lot but the rice needs it!

Measure out:
1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
1 teaspoon Coriander Seeds
6 Green Cardamoms
1/2 teaspoon Cloves
1 teaspoon Black Peppercorns
4 Black Cardamoms
1/2 inch Cinnamon Stick

Put these spices into a spice infuser or straight into the water. By using an infuser, the spices will give their wonderful flavour to the rice but you'll be able to take them out when they've done their job. So, no one will get any stuck in their mouth!

Add the infuser to the water and slowly bring to the boil.

By boiling it slowly, the spices will have time to infuse in. The water will change colour because of the spices.

Once the water boils and the rice has soaked, drain the rice and add to the water.

Bring to the boil again.

Then, set a timer for 2 minutes and let the rice boil.

Drain the rice well and let it sit until you're ready for it.

At this point, it should be part cooked. The grains should break but with a little resistance.

Now, let's cook the base of the biryani. Heat 5 tablespoons Vegetable Oil in a large pan over medium heat. This is the pan which we will eventually cook the whole biryani so make sure it's big enough.

To the hot oil, add 4 peeled and chopped Onions.

Plus 1 teaspoon Salt.

Fry the onions until they are golden brown.

Then, add in the lamb along with all of its marinade and 200ml water.

Stir in the lamb and water.

Before covering with a lid and cooking on medium-high heat for 10 minutes, stirring halfway.

Uncover and we are nearly ready to assemble our biryani!

But first, finely chop:
1 Large Handful Mint Leaves
1 Small Bunch Fresh Coriander
3 Green Chillies
And, add half of them to the lamb.

Stir in and turn the heat right down.

Put all the rice over the lamb.

Drizzle over 1-2 teaspoons Kewra Water.

Dot over Food Colour Powder.

I used this one!

Drizzle over the Juice of 1 Lemon.

Sprinkle over the other half of the fresh mint, fresh coriander, and green chillies.

Put on 1 thinly sliced Lemon.

Finish by drizzling over a little Vegetable Oil. You could also use butter.

Now, let's steam the biryani. Cover the pan with a lid and place a heavy object on top to weigh the lid down even more. Put the heat on the highest for 1 minute then turn the heat to the lowest for 30-40 minutes.

Uncover and check to see if the rice and lamb are cooked.

If the rice isn't cooked through, don't be afraid to add a splash of water and continue steaming until it is. Once the biryani is cooked, let it sit in the pan for 10 minutes before serving.

A biryani packed with so much flavour that it doesn't need any chutney! So good!

Boneless Lamb Biryani.

a real crowd pleaser!

Prep Time: About 30 minutes + overnight to marinade.
Cook Time: About 1 hour.
Serves: About 5-6 people.


For the Lamb Marinade
500g (1 pound) Boneless Lamb Legs, cut into bitesize pieces
3 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
2 teaspoons Ground Coriander
1/2 teaspoon Ground Turmeric
1 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
1 teaspoon Garam Masala
1 teaspoon Ginger Paste
1 teaspoon Garlic Paste
235g Plain Yoghurt
Juice of 1 Lemon

For the Rice
450g Basmati Rice
3 teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
1 teaspoon Coriander Seeds
6 Green Cardamoms
1/2 teaspoon Cloves
1 teaspoon Black Peppercorns
4 Black Cardamoms
1/2 inch Cinnamon Stick

For the Biryani
5 tablespoons Vegetable Oil + more, if needed
4 Onions, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon Salt
Large Handful Mint Leaves, finely chopped
Small Bunch Fresh Coriander, finely chopped
3 Green Chillies, thinly sliced
1-2 teaspoons Kewra Water
Yellow or Red Food Colour Powder, as needed
Juice of 1 Lemon
1 Lemon, thinly sliced
Water, as needed

Marinade the lamb:
Mix all of the ingredients together and marinade overnight in the fridge. Take out of the fridge 30 minutes before cooking.

Par-boil the rice:
Wash the rice well under cold running water until the water coming out is mostly clear. Soak in more water for 30 minutes.
Slowly bring a deep pan of water to the boil. Add the salt along with all the whole spices as they are or in a spice infuser.
Once the water boils, drain the rice and add to the pan. Bring back to the boil then boil for 2 minutes. Drain well and set aside.

Cook the lamb:
Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and salt, and fry until golden brown. Add in the lamb along with all of its marinade and 200ml water. Stir before covering with a lid and cooking on medium-high heat for 10 minutes, stirring halfway.

Assemble the biryani:
Stir half the mint, half the coriander, and half the green chillies into the lamb. Turn the heat to the lowest and put all the rice on top of the lamb. Add the kewra water, food colour, lemon juice, the rest of the mint, coriander, and green chillies, the lemon slices, and a drizzle of oil.

Cook the biryani:
Cover the pan with a lid and place a heavy object on it. Turn the heat to high for 1 minute before turning down to the lowest for 30-40 minutes until the rice and lamb are fully cooked.

Let the biryani sit in the pan for 10 minutes before gently mixing. Serve!

Keep me in your duas please, and enjoy your lamb biryani!

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

Spice Enthusiast


  1. Wow, that look so delicious and seems so easy to make. Ive always thought biryani is so hard but i will definitely attempt this!

    1. Thank you! I really hope you give the recipe a go.

  2. Do you think you could post a vegetarian biryani recipe at some point please? I'm not a fan of meat or chicken biryani's, everytime I've had one it hasn't made me like biryani's lol. Something with potatoes, vegetable and eggs would be great. Thank you and I love your blog! :D

    1. Thank you for the request. Will try my best to post one soon! :)

  3. Do you have to use kewra water?

    1. Not if you don't want to. You can use rose water too.

  4. Salaams. Attempting your biryani today insha'Allah. Fascinated with the spice infuser. I dont use whole spices because of the exact reason youve said in your post lol (i hate picking it out lol). I was wondering (silly question) but would it work if i put the spices in the infuser and cooked it in curries? So put it in oil and let it cook through it and then discard? Lol

    1. I've never tried it in a curry but as long as you're careful when stirring, it should be fine. Let me know how it goes! :)

  5. Sis if we wanted to do 1kg of rice instead and I guess 1kg of meat...what quantities would u recommend for all the other things...I feel like I ruin my dishes when I increase the amount because I always put too much of one thing or too little.

    LOVE THIS PAGE xxxxxxx

    1. Double everything but be careful with the salt and chilli - taste as you go instead.

  6. Hey, this looks incredible! Lamb biryani is one of my favourites but I've never tried making it before so I'm excited to give your recipe a go.
    How does this recipe compare to the one you posted in Dec 2016? ( Apart from using boneless lamb of course. From what I can see, the technique is different - here you're marinating the lamb overnight to make the masala and the rice is cooked with spices. Which one would you say is better?

    1. This boneless lamb biryani is in the style of a "kachi biryani" which means "raw biryani". It's a technique where the meat is marinaded in yoghurt and spices overnight, put into pot raw and covered with the rice. The steaming process is a lot longer because the meat needs time to fully cook. The biryani from December 2016 used the cooked method where the lamb is cooked a lot longer before adding in the rice. Both methods are delicious but I think the "raw" version is more traditional.

  7. We made this earlier in the week to cheer us up as work etc. was closing down. Awesome recipe, full of lovely aromatic spices. Kept us fed and happy for three days!

  8. This looks beautiful, and it is exactly what I am looking for. I love how you do step by step photos, and easy to follow instructions. Looking forward to making it!

  9. We have some Muslim neighbours who recently brought round some leftover lamb biryani after eid and ever since I've been trying to make one of my own which tasted as good and authentic... finally I've found it!!!
    I only marinated the lamb for 4 hours but it was still tender and beautiful.. THANK YOU!

    1. You're more than welcome. So glad you liked my recipe.


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